Knight Life https://knightlifenews.com The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community Fri, 13 Nov 2020 18:47:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 How Unus Annus changed my view on life https://knightlifenews.com/23944/ae/how-unus-annus-changed-my-view-on-life/ https://knightlifenews.com/23944/ae/how-unus-annus-changed-my-view-on-life/#respond Thu, 12 Nov 2020 19:07:46 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23944 How Unus Annus changed my view on life

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Escaping to new horizons: how “Animal Crossing” has helped my mental health https://knightlifenews.com/23920/opinion/escaping-to-new-horizons-how-animal-crossing-has-helped-my-mental-health/ https://knightlifenews.com/23920/opinion/escaping-to-new-horizons-how-animal-crossing-has-helped-my-mental-health/#respond Thu, 12 Nov 2020 17:00:41 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23920 This pandemic has been incredibly difficult to bear, not only physically, but mentally. As an extroverted individual, being cut off from my emotional support in the form of friends is devastating to have to endure. Many times I considered disregarding the Stay at Home order — and by extension my own safety– just to see my friends again. Of course I came to my senses pretty quickly, as this pandemic may end sooner if we keep our distance now, but the thought remains. 

Mental health is a serious issue in our society, regardless of current events. Ten to twenty percent of youth from ages 10 to 19 years experience mental health issues, according to the World Health Organization. Since the start of the pandemic, that number has increased to 25 percent as a direct result of COVID negatively affecting the daily lives of youth, according to the CDC

Being kept at home has severely degraded my mental health. My grades have suffered immensely, and since this is my senior year, grades are more important than ever. There have been days when I could barely encourage myself to get out of bed to go to class, since seeing my friends’ faces from the computer screen just amplified the fact that they aren’t with me in real life. 

Despite the void of sadness I had found myself in, one thing managed to pull me out of it. Just before the pandemic, my parents had gotten me a birthday gift of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” for my Nintendo Switch. I couldn’t put it down when I first got it. The simplistic little game of making a deserted island into a thriving community of my design was addicting to someone looking for a creative escape from the real world

Then the pandemic hit, and I stopped playing for a good few months. School had gone remote, and I had to put all of my energy and time into completing junior year from my bedroom. Even during the summer months, I was busy with other things, and my Switch stayed cold and unused in its case. Then my senior year started up, and I was again swamped with late work that I didn’t have the energy to complete. 

Then I visited my cousins in Detroit, and I brought my Switch with me since one of my cousins also had “Animal Crossing” and wanted to play with me. 

That night of playing “Animal Crossing” with my cousin was the most fun I had since the start of the COVID crisis. I nearly cried when I saw my villagers again, since they had noticed I’d been gone for so long and asked where I’d been and if I was okay. These were computer-generated responses, but it still meant the world to me. 

In “Animal Crossing,” I could forget COVID. I could forget school. I could forget my loneliness. All that mattered to me in that moment was scouring the beaches of my island for seashells and shaking fruit from the trees. 

“Animal Crossing” provided an escape for me away from the current world on fire, and it has helped my mental stability astronomically. Our society has a stigma around people finding ways to escape the grim reality of these tough times, but honestly, with how much the world has changed, I couldn’t care less about what other people think of my coping methods. 

“Animal Crossing” is what motivates me to get through the day because despite how awful and lonely the world may be right now, I know I have sandy beaches and palm trees waiting for me just through the screen of my Switch. 

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Student performers miss connections and time to perfect craft during the COVID-19 restrictions on theatres https://knightlifenews.com/23887/ae/student-performers-miss-connections-and-time-to-perfect-craft-during-the-covid-19-restrictions-on-theatres/ https://knightlifenews.com/23887/ae/student-performers-miss-connections-and-time-to-perfect-craft-during-the-covid-19-restrictions-on-theatres/#respond Wed, 11 Nov 2020 17:00:37 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23887 “I’ve met some of my best friends in acting, but those opportunities just don’t exist without theatre the way it was,” Loy Norrix junior Elias Nagel-Bennett said.

On March 12, 2020, Broadway announced that it would be stopping all performances until April 13, 2020. However, due to the risks of public safety involved with over 500 people sitting in close proximity to watch a performance, the date for the reopening has been pushed to May 30, 2021. This has been a catalyst for theaters all over the world to stop performances.

Theatre creates a loving community among actors and crew members, especially at the high school level. It requires comradery and many long hours together, which ultimately brings all the members closer together. 

As Nagel-Bennett puts it, “Being in a company, no matter your role or part, was a team effort through and through. Everyone had to learn to work together and grow to enjoy it! In short, you became a well-oiled machine over the course of a production, and you don’t really find that kind of stuff elsewhere at this age.”

However, due to the physical close quarters that theatre requires, actors haven’t been able to perform and form those relationships. This is just one of the many struggles actors are facing during the pandemic. From professional actors wondering where their next meal is coming from, to students feeling anxious to express themselves, this time off the stage has been hard for everyone. 

According to the article How Theater Actors Are Surviving During the Pandemic, written by Diep Tran, this struggle has been felt by, “more than 51,000 members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union for stage actors and stage managers, who were all put out of work when theaters shut down nationwide.” 

Nagel-Bennett describes his time out of acting as disappointing. 

“Acting, for me, has always been about that headspace, that ideal place where you can act and block and do everything else in a seamless way, almost like you’re on auto-pilot for the duration of a show.” Nagel-Bennett continued, “But it’s really something you’ve gotta build over the course of rehearsal, and with all this time away, I’m not sure if I’ve still got it.”

Even though theaters are shut down, this doesn’t mean the work behind the scenes has stopped. Loy Norrix senior Katie Kutzko has been working backstage at The Kalamazoo Civic Theater, even during the pandemic. 

“I signed up last school year to do an EFE at the Kalamazoo Civic where I would learn about how the different theatre jobs work. So far I have been coming to the Civic two days a week and learning about different specializations,” Kutzko said. 

Kutzko continued to talk about how theatre has changed during the pandemic, causing there to only be two crew members backstage at a time and plenty of space between them and the actors. She is also required to wear a mask and remain socially distanced at all times inside the theater.

“I have not been able to work backstage yet this season, but I hope to for upcoming productions! I wouldn’t be backstage during the show, instead I’d be on the balcony to keep distance from the actors,” Kutzko said 

Kutzko added that it’s different working in an empty theater.

 “It feels very melancholy, I enjoy being back, but it’s sad seeing it without the busy crew members and actors running to make a quick change,” Kutzko continued, “there’s no stage manager calling cues or an audience to energize.”

Unfortunately, having no audience during shows seems like it will become the new normal for a while. Many major stages are staying closed until it is safe, but smaller theaters are finding ways to adapt. 

“So far this year there have been some plays on Zoom and Google Meets, I suspect that will be the majority until covid clears up. There are some places that are doing live plays that are streamed, with the actors wearing clear masks painted a skin tone. I think it’ll go more online and with more tech involved, with less in-person shows due to safety,” Kutzko said. 

Nagel-Bennett sees the future of theatre after the pandemic to be different. 

“I see no way theatre could stay the same after the pandemic. Sure, society has experienced diseases like this before, but with our deep understanding of it combined with the effect it has had on daily life, there will certainly be hesitance to attend theaters even with safety protocols, and the traveling nature of some performances will be called into question,” Nagel-Bennett said.

But no matter the future, both Kutzko and Nagel-Bennett plan on continuing to participate in theatre in the future. This means that they can use this time they’re not performing in shows to work on the fundamentals and learn more about their art. For Kutzko, this looks like continued volunteering and work at her EFE, and hopefully a future in theatre technology.

Nagel-Bennett, on the other hand, is using this time to work on his monologues and memorization. 

“The only real way to feel like I’m retaining this part of my life and not treading water is to do something with what I have,” Nagel Bennett said “Constant self-improvement so when I am in something again, I’ll be better than ever.”

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SAT Corona Edition: Taking a life-changing test during the COVID-19 pandemic https://knightlifenews.com/23859/opinion/sat-corona-edition-taking-a-life-changing-test-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/ https://knightlifenews.com/23859/opinion/sat-corona-edition-taking-a-life-changing-test-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/#respond Wed, 04 Nov 2020 17:00:55 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23859 The SAT is one of the most important milestones in the life of an upperclassmen high school student. The big test, the final frontier, the number that will decide if you can attend the college of your dreams and then pursue your life career. For a regularly anxious student, this test had me in shambles the moment I became a junior at Loy Norrix. 

Then the pandemic struck, and I had to not only finish my junior year from home, but also became unable to take the SAT when I planned to. Thankfully, I was able to take it a year late without consequence, but the way life had changed up until then only increased my stress a tenfold. 

As a 17 year old, I had never experienced a global pandemic before. Honestly, before 2020, it seemed like a made up concept from a dystopian novel of some sort. It took some time to step back and view how much the world had changed and how quickly I had gotten used to it. Being kept in isolation for our own safety would’ve been absurd to me last year, but now it is the norm to only see my dear friends sparingly, and even then only their masked faces, six feet apart. 

The stress that this pandemic has put on my studies and my personal life has been indescribable. I feel overwhelmed at tasks that used to be easy, so how on earth was I going to complete the biggest test of my life?

Fortunately, this year it may not actually be as important as I was making it seem. Since the pandemic caught so many people off guard, many schools are waiving the SAT scores submitted to them this year, making it possible for kids to still be accepted into their university of choice, even if their SAT scores aren’t their best performance, according to the New York Times. This is a huge deal because as a student struggling significantly to learn and study from home, this means I still have a shot to make it into my college of choice, despite the setback from COVID. 

Another advantage I had was the fact I was allowed a 504 Plan, which is a plan to help kids with learning disabilities do their best in school and standardized testing by giving them alternate accommodations. This plan allowed me to split up my testing into two days, so my brain had a chance to rest in between. That was a huge help in making sure I succeeded, and I think it gave me the time I needed to ensure I did my absolute best, even though doing my best was not as heavily required this year.

During testing, I had to wear a mask the entire time. It wasn’t ideal, and I had to remove it during breaks to get some breaths of fresh air, but it didn’t hinder my testing experience too much besides that. My administrator was very good at being careful and making sure we were as safe as possible during testing, which was a big relief and very appreciated. 

I finished testing after two days and now I am anxiously awaiting my results. Despite the fear of not knowing, I feel a huge weight off my shoulders now that it’s over and done with. It’s scary going through the next stage of life in these uncertain times, but I feel relieved to know that the major source of my anxiety through my entire high school experience is now behind me.

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Students pick up new hobbies to pass the time during quarantine https://knightlifenews.com/23890/feature/students-pick-up-new-hobbies-to-pass-the-time-during-quarantine/ https://knightlifenews.com/23890/feature/students-pick-up-new-hobbies-to-pass-the-time-during-quarantine/#respond Tue, 03 Nov 2020 20:41:38 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23890 Summer vacation: a student’s three-month weekend between school years, meant to be spent hanging out with friends and acquaintances, traveling, attending live concerts, summer camps, anything of the sort. Unfortunately, this summer students have not had the luxury of enjoying the majority of these pastimes safely. 

This year on March 19th, Michigan Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, announced a statewide closure of all K-12 school facilities due to the uptick in Covid-19 cases. What was originally intended to be a two week break evolved into a three month block of online learning, followed by a lengthy socially distanced summer vacation, leaving students to come up with new ways to fill the time they could have potentially been spending with friends had it not been for the ongoing global pandemic. 

Some of the most popular activities being practiced are biking, skateboarding and roller skating, as the sales in this equipment rose considerably throughout the era of CDC-advised social distancing. 

In the article from The Washington Post, ¨Thinking of Buying a Bike? Get Ready for a Very Long Wait,¨Author Emily Davies writes, ¨Bicycle sales nationwide surged by 50 percent in March, according to the NPD Group, a market research company.¨ 

However, skateboarding seems to be a fan favorite among students looking for a physically interactive interest. 

 Sophomore Wolfgang Madonia is one of the many individuals who have picked up skating during the summer. 

“I’ve met a lot of cool people through skating and gained experience filming for them and stuff. It’s a pretty good way to stay in shape too, I guess, so that’s cool,” said Madonia on the benefits of skateboarding. 

 Sophomore Hannah Getachew also picked up skateboarding as a result of quarantine, in addition to making her own clothing from scratch and growing houseplants. 

When asked about the benefits of her newfound interests, Getachew said, ”[I] never really got bored in quarantine with all my hobbies, and I get to sell the things I sew online for money.” 

Many other students have opted for indoor hobbies as well, such as junior Sophia Talo, who has established a new affinity for organization, in the style of Marie Kondo. 

“I don’t know if it’s a hobby or an interest, but I’ve been doing more organization stuff.” Talo continued, “I’ve been watching Marie Kondo a lot and it’s made me realize how messy everything is. So in my room I’ve gotten more organizers and bookshelves to put things away, and entirely cleaned out my closet along with the rest of the house.” 

Talo said, ¨Quarantine slowed down the pace of everything. Like I didn’t even realize that before I was moving through my day so fast and never had time for anything.¨ 

Specifics aside, picking up a new hobby can be incredibly beneficial for maintaining one’s mental health. 

According to a study performed by health psychologist Matthew Zawadzki, people who partake in hobbies that provide leisure or relief continue to feel better even after they are done practicing the hobby. 

¨Skateboarding makes me feel better,¨ said Madonia, ¨It just takes my mind off of things that are happening around me.” 

Maintaining stable mental health is such an important variable for students across the country and hopefully newfound hobbies can serve as solace in an era of stress and confusion. 

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Learn more about the world we live in: The best documentaries on Netflix right now https://knightlifenews.com/23863/ae/learn-more-about-the-world-we-live-in-the-best-documentaries-on-netflix-right-now/ https://knightlifenews.com/23863/ae/learn-more-about-the-world-we-live-in-the-best-documentaries-on-netflix-right-now/#respond Tue, 03 Nov 2020 17:00:37 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23863 With the amount of time spent in school and on homework increasing, reading a book or articles can take too much brain power. Documentaries, however, are a more relaxed way to learn about the world around us. From specific instances to a bigger picture, the documentaries on this list are a wonderful way to get informed.
“13th,” directed by Ava DuVernay, is the most important and well-done documentary on Netflix. This movie discusses racial institutions and inequality in the United States, with a focus on prisons and mass incarceration.
Scholars, activists and politicians take an in-depth look at how slavery evolved into the prison system, talking about instances that helped further this change, such as Jim Crow laws and the war on drugs. Not only does this movie lead a vital conversation, it also includes different historic clips and uses amazing camera work to create a captivating documentary.
Michelle Alexander, a writer and author, says this in the documentary: “And so it seems that in America we haven’t so much ended racial caste, but simply redesigned it.”
“American Murder: The Family Next Door” is perfect for fans of true crime. The hour and twenty-three minute long movie tells the story regarding the disappearance of mother Shanann Watts and her two daughters, Bella and Celeste.
Using videos from Facebook and text messages to her friends, viewers get a glimpse into Shanann’s life and possible explanations for her disappearance. The audience will be taken through the different twists and turns of the investigation before learning what happens to the family at the end.
“Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story” informs viewers about Cyntoia Brown, a teenage girl convicted of killing Johnny Michael Allen in 2004. Conducted in chronological order, viewers are taken through Brown’s conviction, transfer to adult prison and how her case is resolved. Brown’s family and lawyers are interviewed, and footage of the court proceeding is shown to create the full story for the audience. This is a really interesting look at the criminal justice system and how it impacts young people.
“Diana: In Her Own Words” covers personal recordings of Princess Diana revealing the truth about her life and relationship with Prince Charles, making statements such as “I felt I was a lamb to the slaughter. And I knew it.”
Even if you aren’t interested in the royal family or history in general, this movie is very intriguing and illuminates the very interesting and emotional life of Princess Diana. News clips and press photos are displayed while the audio of the interview plays in the background, making for a unique and dynamic documentary that viewers won’t be able to look away from. There are mentions of eating disorders and suicide, so if those are triggering for you, don’t choose this movie.
“The Dawn Wall” tells the story of Tommy Caldwell and his climbing partner, Kevin Jorgeson, attempting to scale part of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The film also delves into Tommy’s personal life, from how he began climbing to the heartbreak he experiences that motivates his El Capitan adventure. Through interviews conducted with friends and family of Tommy, and some of Kevin, viewers learn more about the climbers while they complete their climb.
Taylor Swift tells her story of rising through the pop music industry and how that has impacted her throughout the years in “Miss Americana.” Swift talks about the experience of being a woman in the music industry and how the public’s perception of her changed her.
Mentioning expectations for women, Swift says, “I wanna love glitter and also stand up for the double standards that exist in our society. I wanna wear pink and tell you how I feel about politics. I don’t think those things have to cancel each other out.”
Starting with her childhood and videos of Swift as a young girl playing a guitar, through to her most recent concerts, viewers can see how this musician grew up.
Netflix has so many documentaries and docuseries, most of which are captivating and well made. If you just need a break but want to feel productive, check out the documentaries on this list or explore the other options.

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David Byrne finds a great way to be gray in “American Utopia” https://knightlifenews.com/23849/ae/david-byrne-finds-a-great-way-to-be-gray-in-american-utopia/ https://knightlifenews.com/23849/ae/david-byrne-finds-a-great-way-to-be-gray-in-american-utopia/#respond Sat, 31 Oct 2020 16:00:49 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23849 The glint of shimmering silver chains, draped like curtains, set the boundaries of this world.

The moment is occupied solely by a ghastly, white-haired figure donning a gray suit. He sits contemplatively at his gray school desk, positioned evenly in the center of his gray-floored landscape. Gray, considered a lifeless color in most cases, acts as the perfect canvas for David Byrne to paint his lively reality upon.

David Byrne’s “American Utopia” is the latest musical production by David Byrne, best known as the former frontman of new wave band Talking Heads. “American Utopia” is now available to watch exclusively on the HBO Max streaming service. 

What began as a world-touring concert evolved into a resident Broadway production after receiving astounding critical acclaim. That’s where this film picks up. For the duration of its 100-minute runtime, you’re placed into the audience at NYC’s Hudson Theatre for an immersive evening.

Featuring songs both from his new album of the same name as the film and old songs spanning his forty-year career, both solo and with the Talking Heads, the music of this film consists of the thoughtful art-rock Byrne is known for and unsurprisingly leaves little to be desired.

When it came time to adapt the show to film, Byrne enlisted A-list director Spike Lee, who in recent years has directed the films “BlacKkKlansman” and “Da 5 Bloods.” While David Byrne is cited as the principal creative force behind this production,  Lee still brought his own directorial flair to the table. 

The film is beautifully shot and cinematically arranged, providing a far different experience from seeing it live. I find it easy to say that given the nature of this work, Lee’s political realist style serves to extend the original messages of the production. The themes of racial oppression and civil rights, typically present in Lee’s films, mesh nicely with the material at hand, making this combination seem like a match made in heaven.

HBO

As of writing this review, I have experienced “American Utopia” three times. The first, and needless to say the most thrilling viewing, I saw two years ago live at the Devos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan during the initial tour of the show in 2018. 

My second time watching it was earlier this month at the virtual screening of Spike Lee’s film adaptation of the broadway show via the New York Film Festival, which I viewed safely from the comfort of my living room. 

My third and so-far final viewing of the show was the HBO premiere of the same movie, which is probably the closest to a theatrical release that we’ll get amidst the pandemic.

I use the word “experience” with intent to describe this show. This isn’t the type of concert film you watch simply to see a band you like perform your favorite songs, however having many classics under his belt, Byrne may be able to fulfill this too. Regardless of what type of film you’re looking for, I think any fans of Byrne’s previous works will find “American Utopia” remarkably enjoyable.

Byrne and his mélange of musicians from across the globe require your full attention in this flick. Despite wearing inexpressive uniform-like gray-colored suits, each cast member flaunts a distinct demeanor as they portray the ever-relevant political narrative. 

This show clearly was not created to represent an ideal future, rather to usher us into one.”

Colorful lights are used to project life onto the otherwise bleak-gray set. The cast struts across the stage with the grandeur of a marching band thanks to the stunning choreography but somehow still maintains the funky ambiance of Byrne’s music. Byrne makes sure to mention between songs how every sound the audience hears comes from the musicians on stage: no funny business like pre-recorded tracks. Keeping this in mind makes their movements all the more mesmerizing.

This show clearly was not created to represent an ideal future, rather to usher us into one. The show bolsters its support for former NFL player and activist Colin Kaepernick, and later in the show for countless victims of police brutality in a powerful rendition of Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout.” Audience members are reminded of the importance of voting and are urged to register then and there after the show.

Seeing “American Utopia” again for the first time in many years has reminded me how distinct it is compared to other concerts and concert films I’ve seen. This is not just a rehashing of the 1984 Talking Heads concert film “Stop Making Sense,” nor does it feel like it’s in the same vein as that, despite some songs overlapping in their setlists. 

In making “American Utopia,” Byrne has set his sights on something very modern, and hence his use of the word “utopia,” an optimistic future where all American people can live without worry. He plays with the notion that as humans develop, they shed their neural connections until what remains is only what defines them. Individuality is a theme that is present throughout the show, whether it be racial or simply self-expressive connotations. Either way, the idea of a future that embraces individuality could not be any more relevant weeks before the election deciding the future of the nation: our path to “utopia.”

In the latter half of the show, before vigorously marching through the aforementioned “Hell You Talmbout,” Byrne really encapsulates what the show is all about. 

“I also see the song as being about possibility.” Byrne continued, “Possibility of change. Not just in the imperfect world out there, but in myself too. I also need to change.” 

This is a mindset we could all stand to adopt. Not simply waiting for the change to come to us, but taking direct action to make it happen. 

“I think there’s still a possibility,” said Byrne. “We’re a work in progress. We’re not fixed. Our brains can change.”

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Netflix film “Cuties” sparks controversy https://knightlifenews.com/23845/opinion/netflix-film-cuties-sparks-controversy/ https://knightlifenews.com/23845/opinion/netflix-film-cuties-sparks-controversy/#comments Fri, 30 Oct 2020 16:00:53 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23845 The Netflix movie “Cuties” aired in September and ever since then, Netflix has received a lot of backlash for supporting a controversial movie. The basis of the movie is that Amy, an eleven year old girl who is Senegalese Muslim, befriends a group of child dancers. Amy begins to be influenced by social media and her friends, dancing and dressing provocatively. 

Many people are disturbed by the way these children are portrayed, including myself, but this movie is shedding light on real issues. Kids are growing up in a Kim Kardashian-like world and they see on social media what people like and what type of clothes and dances get attention. 

In “Cuties” the girls are twerking and doing moves from scandalous music videos. These are very mature themes for impressionable children, but that is the reality of this day and age. Kids see everything online and at such a young age, it can be hard to understand how most things online are meant for a more mature audience, not 11 year old kids.

 The director of “Cuties” said in an interview with the Washington Post, “We, as adults, have not given children the tools to grow up healthy in our society. I wanted to open people’s eyes to what’s truly happening in schools and on social media, forcing them to confront images of young girls made up, dressed up and dancing suggestively to imitate their favorite pop icon,” said director Maïmouna Doucouré, “I wanted adults to spend 96 minutes seeing the world through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl, as she lives 24 hours a day. These scenes can be hard to watch but are no less true as a result.”

A comment on the movie review site Common Sense Media says,I felt compelled to cancel Netflix and create a Common Sense Media account just to warn parents and teens of [what] this film is. I had heard rumors of the film and my husband told me to preview it by myself so we could decide whether it warranted the Netflix boycott. It absolutely did.” The comment continues on and says, “It was disgusting, enough is enough. I had to fast forward through scenes because they were so disturbing. I wouldn’t allow either of my teens to watch this. It made me want to protect all children. It made me realize just how low our society has become in allowing this film to be portrayed as anything other than being morally wrong. We cancelled Netflix.”

This comment is blaming Netflix for portraying these kids in such a sexual way, but in reality, this movie is showing people who are not aware of the sexualization of young girls what is actually happening in society. 

“This movie should be banned as child pornography and the creator’s should be arrested!! I cancelled my Netflix account due to the fact that they condone this sickening behavior and exploitation of children. #SaveOurChildren,” said another Common Sense Media review comment.

It is your right to cancel your own Netflix subscription if you so chose, but doing so and bashing Netflix for a movie that doesn’t have any explicit nudity and call it child pornography is taking it to the extreme. I agree that some parts are uncomfortable, but if you leave yourself blind to what is happening, it isn’t going to fix the problem that you are trying to solve by canceling a subscription. 

Netflix said in an interview with USA Today “ ‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children … and we stand by the film.”

In “Cuties”, the basis of the film is how young girls are being sexualized based on the dancing and the clothing being worn. As Netflix says it is a social commentary, Netflix isn’t the one telling your kids to dress provocatively, the movie is simply showing that this is one way children are acting in modern society. 

“I really liked it [“Cuties”] because it’s really neutral, like very normal to the life I live now and what I see. It’s very true to society because most young girls grow up just like that,” said sophomore Alyssa Capps, “I think that it shouldn’t be banned, yes it was wrong but it is on the basis of how real life happens and what young girls go through.”

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The KPS school board makes the decision to stay virtual for the second trimester. https://knightlifenews.com/23836/news/the-kps-school-board-makes-the-decision-to-stay-virtual-for-the-second-trimester/ https://knightlifenews.com/23836/news/the-kps-school-board-makes-the-decision-to-stay-virtual-for-the-second-trimester/#respond Thu, 29 Oct 2020 16:30:27 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23836 The 2020-2021 school year has been different from any other school year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Kalamazoo Public Schools, along with every school in the country, is having to make changes to keep their students safe. 

KPS made the decision, on August 3rd 2020, to have multiple options under their “Smart and Safe Start Plan,” but regardless of the option chosen, students started the school year virtually. 

For Option 1, the plan was to go virtual until December, then do a hybrid method starting in the winter and hopefully fully virtual in the spring. 

Option 2a is a program called “KPS Virtual Learning Path (KVLP)” which has 9-12 graders doing GradPoint, a program where you work at your own pace, all year round. The teachers will record attendance, but they are not necessarily from the school the student attends. 

Option 2b is called “KRESA Virtual & Innovative Collaborative (KVIC)” which has the students taking classes through KRESA while still being enrolled in KPS. 

Option 1, however, is the reason the KPS school board and administrators have been working to make a decision on whether or not their students should go back to school for the second trimester. The school board met on October 22 and finalized their decision that it is not yet safe to send students back to school using a hybrid schedule.  

During a town hall meeting on October 12, the Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri explained how the hybrid option would look. The day-to-day is two in-person days of class, one day for SEL/cleaning, and then two days will be individual work on the days students are not in school. 

“The days students do not physically attend school they will be working independently from home,” said Dr. Raichoudhuri,  “Because teachers are with the other group of students, access to teachers will be very limited during off days.” 

This could potentially cause problems if students are not understanding an assignment when they are on their off days instead of in-person. Students who struggle with remembering to do their assignments could fall behind with their assignments.

During the board meeting on October 22, the school board announced their finalized decision on whether or not to send students back to school hybrid. “The decision for trimester two has been made with the health and safety of our students and staff in mind,” said Dr. Raichoudhuri during Thursday night’s board meeting. 

A weighted formula was used to show how the decision was made. Teaching and non-teaching staff had one point per group worth 11.1% a piece, for how much their opinion weighed on the decision. Parents had two points, or 22.2% of the decision. Research, looking at how other schools in the area are doing with being back at school, had two points or 22.2%, and the Kalamazoo Area Health Department was worth three points, or 33.3%. Now this isn’t to say that anyone’s opinion is worth more than another’s, but the decision was made while based primarily on the facts and the science. 

The school board voted unanimously: stay remote. “Kalamazoo Public Schools will remain in remote instruction for Trimester 2” said Dr. Raichoudhuri. 

Loy Norrix Senior Makenzie Sackett said, “I’m a little disappointed, knowing that I won’t be able to see my friends and teachers, as well as get back into my old routine. I do understand why and it’s important… but it kind of sucks.”

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In the era of COVID-19, the SAT has become obsolete https://knightlifenews.com/23816/opinion/in-the-era-of-covid-19-the-sat-has-become-obsolete/ https://knightlifenews.com/23816/opinion/in-the-era-of-covid-19-the-sat-has-become-obsolete/#respond Tue, 27 Oct 2020 16:00:26 +0000 https://knightlifenews.com/?p=23816 It was early in the morning, the sun was still rising when I entered Loy Norrix for the first time in months. After being ushered into the cafeteria, I found myself faced with row upon row of socially distanced desks, every person outfitted with a mask.

On Wednesday, October 14, many seniors at Loy Norrix High School stood in line—six feet apart—in order to take the SAT, a test that was supposed to be administered last spring but was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Students were expected to arrive at 8 a.m., and testing lasted until 2 p.m. Throughout the day, students were expected to keep their masks on unless eating or drinking. Only one person was allowed to go to the bathroom at a time. 

By the end of the day, I was exhausted, and I found myself asking what the point of it had been. Every college that I am applying to is not requiring me to submit my SAT scores, and up until only a few weeks prior to taking the test, I didn’t even know if it was still being offered. I felt unprepared and overwhelmed. 

“I did not study beforehand, since I had no idea if I would ever take it, and by the time I signed up for it, I felt like there wasn’t much I could do. My mindset was that if I don’t know this material already, I probably won’t really learn it,” said senior Carson Williams.

The test was optional, but many students still chose to take it, even as a significant number of colleges and universities have elected not to require SAT scores. 

“My parents definitely wanted me to take the SAT,” said Williams. “I was unsure if I wanted to sign up, but I also thought that maybe I should just do it anyway, and my parents had that final push of telling me to sign up.” 

For other students, the decision to take the test came down to seeing it as an opportunity, a way to help them stand out to college admissions officers. 

According to the article “The SAT and the ACT Will Probably Survive the Pandemic—Thanks to Students” by Jeffrey Selingo at the Atlantic, “As long as colleges offer an option that applicants think gives them a leg up, some teenagers will continue to look for every edge. ”

Senior Kamyrn Kimbrough said, “Even though colleges don’t require it right now, it makes you look better. I don’t think it’s necessarily important, but for me personally, I don’t look very good on paper; I’m a B average student with a handful of extracurriculars, so it was important for me.” 

For several years now though, the SAT has come under fire for a number of reasons: it gives students from more privileged backgrounds an advantage, and it may not be an accurate indicator of a student’s academic potential.

According to the article “ACT and SAT scores no longer required for admission at some colleges” by Kristopher J. Brooks at CBS News, “Admissions staff at these schools cite two basic reasons for dropping the ACT and SAT, long a rite of passage for high school students planning for college. The first is one of simple scheduling given the pandemic… The second, however, is more fundamental — some education experts say the ACT and SAT are a poor predictor of whether a student will succeed in college.”

While many colleges have decided to not require SAT scores for the class of 2021 alone, others have made the decision permanent, such as those in the University of California system. The pandemic has provided schools with the opportunity to make significant changes to their admissions process. This could create a ripple effect with many other colleges following suit over the next few years. 

According to the article “How the SAT Failed America” by Susan Adams at Forbes, “Since March, more than 500 colleges, including every school in the Ivy League, have joined the growing ‘test optional’ movement. All told, more than 1,600 four-year schools will not require scores for admission in 2021, and a growing number are becoming ‘test blind,’ meaning they won’t consider scores at all.”

“I don’t think the SAT is super important to most colleges this year… I think most colleges are taking into account the circumstances of the pandemic, and that a lot of students’ education was hit negatively for that time,” said Williams.

The pandemic has sped up a transition that has been occurring for several years now. COVID-19 will bring about significant change, and future generations of students may be able to eliminate the SAT, and subsequently the PSAT, from their high school experience.

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